As the neighbor and on-again, off-again girlfriend of Eric (Topher Grace), Donna was the girl next door but without the saccharine attitude and could put you in your place stat. At a statuesque 5’10, with “big hands,” she simultaneously intimidated her friends and gentleman folk but fascinated them with equal measure.
While the show took place almost 30 years before its actual airdate, Donna’s casual but stylish tomboy fashions still inspired a current generation of teens and college women. Her character’s second wave feminist leanings often clashed with her mother’s more traditional beliefs, and they were integral to her character’s aesthetic.
As the polar opposite of her best friend Jackie Burkhat (Mila Kunis) – the spoiled fashion plate – Donna rarely strayed from her uniform of high-waisted pants, baseball tees and pin-straight, ironed hair. Think the opposite of the glitter and cleavage-palooza that was the 70s fashion in American Hustle.
What Donna did for 70s fashion is what Darlene Connor of Roseanne (played by The Talk creator Sara Gilbert) did for 90s fashion, and it’s no coincidence they both had awesome hair. Television and film especially has seen its fair share of stoner dudes, but Donna was one of the few female stoner types seen on television.
Despite being considered as “one of the boys,” Donna wasn’t wholly unaware of her looks. On one hand she had to remind people, “What the hell, I’m feminine! I’m a lady! Why can’t anyone freakin’ see that?” While on the other, she took pride in her new nickname “Hot Donna,” after working at a local radio station.
A fiery redhead until the seventh season, she was one of the most fleshed out, adolescent female characters on television. Contrasted against another television tomboy that premiered the same year –Joey Potter on Dawson’s Creek (played by the lovely Katie Holmes) – Donna exuded confidence without the constant navel gazing of the aforementioned Miss Potter, even when Donna was pursuing her longtime crush. She could also kick your ass.